Tierra y Libertad – Xibalba

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Closed Casket Activities is the best label in hardcore. And while I think this is arguable to a degree (especially if you prefer faster hardcore, then Triple B is for you), it’s hard to argue with the cast of bands signed to Close Casket; Twitching Tongues, Incendiary, God’s Hate, King Nine, and Suburban Scum, just to name a few. These are all names I’m sure you recognize, and all of them belonging to the same label really speaks to the talent that the label attracts.

However, there is one band missing from the previous list: Xibalba, arguably the most notable band belonging to Closed Casket Activities. Xibalba recently released a new album with the label called Tierra y Libertad, which is by far their best work to date.

This opinion is subjective. My prior conjecture of the band, however, was very grim. This is not because the band does not have talent (they do), nor is it because their previous releases were bad (they weren’t). In fact, I distinctly remember freaking out about how good Hasta la Muerte was when it first came out, and, even today, I hold that record with high regard.

My issue with Xibalba is that their records grow old fast. I haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact reason for it, but I’m sure there is some sort of connection to the generous length of their songs. I can listen to all of their earlier records every now and then and it is fine, but not for very long before I feel like I need to move on to something else.

However, this is no longer true with Tierra y Libertad. I’ll listen to the record through once (with the exception of “El Vacio”; I don’t see the need for a 13-minute song), then go listen to something else, and, before I know it, I find myself listening to Tierra y Libertad again. Something about this record makes me keep coming back. I previously mentioned that I thought the long lengths of the songs were the reason I don’t regularly listen to the group’s earlier releases, but I should note, that hasn’t changed on this new record.

To put it simply, this new record is an ass-beater and because of that it is miles above Xibalba’s previous releases. While I don’t think it’ll end up being my favorite record of the year, it’ll be the heaviest I hear all year without any sort of competition. “Guerilla” is the best example of this, where, right from the sound clip at the beginning, you know how hard this song is going to hit.

I had very low expectations for this record coming into it, and I was very pleasantly surprised by it and how much I liked it. If you’ve somehow never heard of Xibalba before, or were like me and weren’t much of a fan before now, give Tierra y Libertad a chance. It will change your mind on any less than favorable opinions you’ve held on the group.

Rating: 3.5/5 H’s



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